SALT LAKE CITY — The sense of relief that Colorado Rockies pitching prospect Jairo Diaz gave off in his first day back with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes spoke volumes, even if the hard-throwing righty didn’t have much to say.
“I’m really happy to be here again,” Diaz told Purple Row prior to the Isotopes’ 11-1 victory over the Salt Lake Bees on Friday. “I’m excited.”
Diaz spent some time at the Rockies’ spring training complex in Scottsdale getting back up to strength after a personal leave of absence that began after his outing on April 15 and lasted a little more than a month. The 26-year-old appeared as fresh as ever in the series opener in Salt Lake, and certainly didn’t look like a guy who hadn’t pitched in almost two months.
In an inning of work, Diaz threw only nine pitches, displaying strong command of his secondary offerings and reaching 98 mph on his fastball en route to a 1-2-3 inning that included a strikeout.
“I’m trying to throw everything in the zone and down and just work on all of my pitches,” Diaz explained. “That’s all it’s about right now.”
The Rockies will likely allow Diaz to continue to regain his footing at Triple-A while the big league bullpen is full. But since he’s already on the 40-man, Diaz likely won’t have to wait long if an injury or a few poor performances occur among the relievers currently occupying the 25-man roster.
Whatever the case, Diaz feels like he’s doing what he has to do to get back to the highest level.
“I already feel like I’m ready to go back if they tell me,” Diaz said. “Right now I feel 100 percent.”
- Rosell Herrera still displays the great-looking swing that made him a top 100 prospect in baseball just a few years ago. Herrera homered to dead center, a 420-plus-foot shot, in the sixth inning and added a single and a double as part of a three-hit, two-run night. Herrera hit each of those balls hard.
- It was a bit of a wild night at the park. Before the game even started, a fight broke out between fans seated in the first couple rows behind home plate. Then, in the second inning, Cristhian Adames hit in Dom Brown’s spot, ruling Brown out. The error happened as a result of ‘Topes manager Glenallen Hill submitting the wrong lineup card to the home plate umpire. Adames batted again and drew a walk, then came around to score on a Daniel Castro double. Finally, Adames got into a brief shoving match with Bees catcher Tony Sanchez in the sixth inning following a pitch that the infielder deemed too far inside. In his previous at-bat, Adames launched a long home run to center field. He finished the game 2-for-4 with a a walk and a pair of runs scored.